Recap of Inaugural Gotham Hoops Invitational

Sacred Heart's Louis Montes and Wagner's Latif Rivers were two of four participants in the inaugural Gotham Hoops Invitational out at Farmingdale State College. (Photo: Bob Dea)

Sacred Heart’s Louis Montes (left) and Wagner’s Latif Rivers (right) were two of four NEC participants in the inaugural Gotham Hoops Invitational out at Farmingdale State College. (Photos: Bob Dea)

On Sunday night, BHJ ventured out to Farmingdale, Long Island to catch the first annual Gotham Hoops Invitational held at Division III Farmingdale State College. This was a showcase event in which 40 of local tri-state area seniors who mostly either played in area or were from the area played against one another in a doubleheader.

LIU Brooklyn’s Jason Brickman was selected for this event but had to drop out after learning he was invited to play in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in Portsmouth, Virginia which starts this Wednesday and go through Saturday. Brickman was not in attendance at the Gotham Hoops Invitational.

Yet, five NEC players were in attendance and four of them played on Sunday evening at Nold Hall in Farmingdale. The list of NEC players included: Wagner’s Latif Rivers and Naofall Folahan, Sacred Heart’s Louis Montes, FDU’s Sidney Sanders Jr. and St. Francis Brooklyn’s Ben Mockford. Mockford was in attendance and was acknowledged but didn’t dress or play in the invitational.

Game one featured Rivers and Montes on the same team, Team Believe as they were called. They went up against Team Anchor which featured former All-NEC player Ike Azotam from Quinnipiac.

As you would expect in this showcase exhibitions, there was plenty of offense and not too much defense. At the half, Team Anchor lead 54-51 with a strong first half from Stony Brook’s Eric McAlister who had by unoffical scorekeeping 12 first half points. But Team Anchor was unable to hold onto the lead in the second half as Team Believe believed they could come back and win and they did beating Team Anchor, 111-95.

Team Believe was led by the hot shooting of Seton Hall’s Brian Oliver who LIU fans remember him torching the Blackbirds in their game against Seton Hall this past season. Oliver scored a game-high 25 points and hit 7 threes in the game. Team Anchor was led by Michael Woods of York College with 20 points. Wagner’s Latif Rivers finished with 14 points while Sacred Heart’s Louis Montes scored 16 including hitting three three-pointers in helping lead their squad to victory. (All player point totals in this post are unofficial)

Game two featured Sanders Jr. and Folahan playing on opposite sides. Sanders Jr. was on Team Passion and Folahan was on Team Dream.

Team Passion led at the half 47-40 thanks to 14 first half points from Fordham’s Branden Frazier but Team Dream led a second-half charge and actually tied the game at 99 with six seconds left to force a four-minute overtime. Team Passion would eventually prevail to get the win 111-106. Team Passion was led by Frazier’s 26 points. They also got 24 points from Hofstra’s Stephen Nwaukoni and 22 points from Kansas State’s Omari Lawrence. Team Dream was led by 22 points from Iona’s Mike Poole in the loss.

As for the NEC players in this game, Sanders Jr. sat out most of the second half as he had an ice bag over his left knee and looked hobbled running in the first half. Sanders Jr. scored four points in the game while Folahan finished with ten points.

Stacy Podelski of 1495sports.com was also at the Gotham Hoops Invitational and she has some nice photos as well as video interviews with some of the local players including St. Francis Brooklyn’s Ben Mockford. You can go here to check out her post.

Congratulations to Ray Anczelowicz of gothamhoops.com for putting on a successful event and getting a decent crowd for a Sunday night out in Farmingdale.

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